Whitney, Henry C.

Born: 1831-02-23 Detroit, Maine

Died: 1905-02-27 Salem, Massachusetts

Henry C. Whitney was a lawyer, federal government official, biographer, state legislator, and close friend of Abraham Lincoln. Whitney received a classical education at Augusta College, Augusta, Kentucky, and Farmers' College, Cincinnati, Ohio. He read law in Cincinnati and Chicago before moving to Urbana, Illinois, in 1854, where he began practicing law. Whitney met Lincoln soon after arriving in Urbana, and the two became close friends, riding the Eighth Judicial Circuit together and collaborating on legal cases. Whitney was an attorney for the Illinois Central Railroad and frequently sought out Lincoln for additional counsel. Later in the 1850s, Whitney moved to Chicago. Originally a Whig, Whitney became a Republican upon the formation of the party. Whitney assisted Lincoln with his political campaigns, particularly Lincoln's campaign against Stephen A. Douglas for U.S. Senate in 1858. Whitney also actively supported Lincoln's bid for the presidency in 1860. In August 1861, President Lincoln appointed Whitney as a paymaster with the U.S. Army, a position he held until March 1865. After the war, he settled in Nashville, Tennessee before moving to Kansas, where he served two years in the Kansas Senate. He returned to Chicago in 1872. Whitney wrote several books on Lincoln and his life, including Life on the Circuit with Lincoln (1892) and Life of Lincoln (2 vols., 1892).

John J. Duff, A. Lincoln: Prairie Lawyer (New York: Rinehart , 1960), 310; Mark E. Neely Jr., The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw Hill, 1982), 335-36; Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln (Boston: Estes and Lauriat, 1892; reprint, Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1940); Albert A. Woldman, Lawyer Lincoln (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1936), 106; Henry C. Whitney, Lincoln the Citizen (New York: Baker & Taylor, 1908), vii-viii; The Buffalo Enquirer (NY), 28 February 1905, 6:1; Gravestone, Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Chicago, IL. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.